Study: Local Holiday Shopping to Rebound in 2010
After three consecutive years of cutting back, Twin Cities shoppers plan to increase their holiday spending this year, according to data collected by the University of St. Thomas' Opus College of Business and released Wednesday.
The school's annual “Holiday Spending Sentiment Survey” conducted in late October found that local shoppers expect to spend $680 on holiday gifts this year-6.8 percent more than the $637 they expected to spend last year. This year marks the first holiday season since 2006 that area shoppers are predicting to spend more than they did the previous year. The most that Twin Cities shoppers ever expected to spend on holiday items was $796 in 2004.
“The tone among today's Twin Cities shoppers is clearly more upbeat than last year, and it's more upbeat here than in the nation as a whole,” Dr. Dave Brennan, one of the study's researchers and a St. Thomas professor of marketing, said in a statement. “Does this mean happy days are here again? Well, yes and no. It is better than last year, but it's not back to what it was before the recession.”
The 2010 survey included 306 responses from households in the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, which includes two counties in western Wisconsin.
While 30.1 percent of the shoppers surveyed plan to spend less this year than last, 61.4 percent said they thought they'd spend about the same and 8.5 percent expect to spend more. The study's researchers expect that metro-area shoppers will cumulatively spend $875 million this year, up 8 percent from the $810 million that was expected to be spent last year.
The survey indicated that the most popular items that local shoppers expect to buy are gift certificates, books, clothing and accessories, entertainment, and toys-in that order. That list isn't dissimilar to previous years except for the fact that books beat out clothing for the number two spot, which the researchers think could be attributed to e-book readers and the iPad.
Shoppers indicated through the survey that they plan to spend 21.8 percent of their holiday budgets via the Internet; that's consistent with last year but three times the percent from 2002 when the St. Thomas study began. Meanwhile, local shoppers plan to spend 27.4 percent of their budgets via catalogs-and they'll dole out the largest percentage of their money, 46.5 percent, at local shopping malls.
When asked which malls or downtown areas shoppers planned to visit, those listed most often were Mall of America, Rosedale, Southdale, downtown Minneapolis, and Ridgedale-in that order. However, when asked which mall or downtown area shoppers plan to visit most for their holiday shopping, Rosedale, Mall of America, Ridgedale, Southdale, and Maplewood, respectively, topped the list.